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The Next Time Someone Asks Why English Honours, Here’s Your Answer!

By Shaifali Agrawal:

One of the most common insults that the students of this course hear is; What does it teach you at the end of three years? You are just ‘reading’ the texts anyway. What else! Little do people know that reading is the next best thing in line to gaining knowledge, after real-life experience. English literature might not give you knowledge about mechanics or tell you how to make profit in business; but it will teach you things that will change the way you look at life, people and situations. It’ll share with you a pool of information of historical events and wars that have formed the world as it is now. There is more than just ‘reading’ Homer, Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Jane Austen. A critical analysis of any text from the psychoanalytic, feminist, modern and capitalist points of view is the basis to passing the exams.

english honours future


English Honours is the perfect course for someone still disillusioned about ones future. Are you one of the freshers in the course who feel lost? A degree in English has many benefits as you gain the knowledge you can use in further studies in varied fields. The following are some of the main areas you’ll be apt in at the end of your English degree :

1. Critical Thinking The years of examining, criticising and over-analysing fictional incidents and characters would change the way you look at life and the people around you. You’ll know how to handle an argument, the quality most sought after in a journalist, a lawyer, and any intelligent person

2. History You will know the history of England on your finger tips; the social, cultural and political milieu right from the 14th century till now. Besides a knowledge of Greek mythology, modern history of Africa, the modern and pre-modern history of America and the history of partition of India; you’ll know how our lifestyle depends on political and cultural decisions. Masters in History won’t be the most off-beat course to do after English Literature.

3. Culture With history of different places, you’ll learn about the culture and lifestyle of various characters in your books. Masters in culture and development is a viable option after it.

4. Feminist Thinking Every era has a main discourse; the present one has sexuality and feminism at its core, said a lecturer. You’ll do a feminist reading of every text, and learn to look for hidden meanings in many scenarios and sentences. This again gives way to critical writing from feminist point of view; or it might ignite in you a passion for gender studies, which is a well-researched course in many universities at this time.

5. Literature The most obvious thing to pursue further is English Literature, obviously. But after the under-graduation, you’ll know better to not take anything to be obvious.

6. Reading between the Lines This is one thing, after critical thinking that you will carry on in your real life too. Why a person said what he said, why a character is the way he/she is; how a few childhood incidents left an impact on how a person had turned out to be as an adult, etc.

The Perks! These four years are not in the least the ‘waste’ of your life. While being surrounded with people similarly disillusioned about their futures, you realise it’s a world with many opportunities. And there are numerous perks to being a student of English Literature! Here are some; the rest you may find on your own during the journey in the course!

– There is an ‘air’ around the course and the people who pursue it. It also stands out from the rest of the degrees in a stack of resumes. On the first day of college, we were told by a lecturer, that a degree in English on your resume puts you above 38% of the population in getting a job.

– You can amuse people by quoting a line by Charles Dickens or Virginia Woolf, and they would never know that you wouldn’t have read any of it if you didn’t have to. Only in the middle of the classics, do you realise ‘why’ they are so famous and loved. When you say your favourite book is Jane Eyre, to a non-English Honours you would look smart and intelligent.

– You read all those books filled with sexual innuendos, and the funniest of lectures are just a part of your degree! Question: Who do you know laughs hysterically while reading a course book? Answer: An English Honours student!

– Most of the self-study would be fun, interesting, emotional and make you think.

Also published here.

You must be to comment.
  1. joiuoiuoi

    let uylkesrjo yk sdjlgh spdo uh;osd uhoiosd o hu s[oh

  2. Prashant Kaushik

    The best such courses do is to continue producing girls ( and guys) who are ‘Indian in color and British in Taste’ !!

  3. Shaifali Agrawal

    I don’t agree with you. Because if you study such a course in India, you get the critique of hangover of British colonialism and even read texts like that of Fanon and Marquez, which makes sure that we understand the hypocrisies of Macaulay’s Minute in Indian Education. Central universities in the country have proper syllabus including African and Indian writers like Chinua Achebe and essays by Rabindranath Tagore, people who used English Literature as a tool in decolonising the mind, so as to make sure the course does not produce people who are ‘Indian in Colour and British in Taste’.
    That is the very advantage of studying English Literature in India (a third world country) than in UK.

  4. inherentnostalgia

    But…what about after college?
    What do I do after that?

    1. Shaifali Agrawal

      Like I mentioned, various fields open up after b.a hnrs in English…apart from an M.A in english, you can do masters in any of the following– Philosophy, psychology, journalism, media and mass communication, cultural studies, etc. And after it, cracking NET to be a lecturer is a probable career choice.

      As for job prospects right after graduation, it is bleak as of now. But of the Four Year Undergraduate Program being introduced in Delhi University last year, there is supposed to be better campus placements now.

      Career options directly related to english honours are editorial and content-writing jobs; but unless it’s a startup, companies usually look for atleast a PG Diploma these days for hiring people. So you can go for a PG degree or diploma in a field you’ll realise you are intersted in during those three(and now four) years 🙂
      Good luck.

  5. latika wadhwa

    well …..after this course you can pursue a career in Content marketing, content writing , content management, content developer, journalist, writer, you can be a critic, PR ,Corporate communicatons Manger etc.

  6. Amirah Ikram

    Question: Who do you know laughs hysterically while reading a course book? Answer: An English Honours student!
    This line is so true.

    Very well, written. You just made me feel more proud about my English Honours Degree. 🙂

    1. Shaifali Agrawal

      Hehe.. Thanks, Amirah 🙂

  7. Indrima Das

    Today the day when I feel that I’m not wrong by taking English honours.I’m from bengali medium school so everyone always said I just spoil my future by taking this honours.thank you mam you give me my answers thak you so much.

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